63% SINGLETRACK37% FIRE ROAD
Pearson-Arastradero Preserve is one of those city-run small open space preserves that are much more generous in their proportion of bike-legal singletrack in its trail network than many preserves that are much larger in size. All trails in this park are open to mountain bikes. That earns my respect!
There are no long climbs at Arastradero. So, it could qualify as a good place to bring a beginner mountain bike rider, especially if you want to include some singletrack in the mix. That doesn't mean that you won't have to pay attention to your route choice, though. While the total amount of climbing is not significant, some short sections (mostly on fire roads) are pretty seriously steep and may present some unnecessary challenge to an out-of-shape new rider. Still, those can always be walked by beginners.
Even for experienced riders, there's quite a bit of fun to be had here. If you could string together a route that traverses all of the trails here without repeating any, you'd end up with something like a 10-mile ride. More likely, though, you'd be riding just your favorite sections of the park, while repeating or reversing some segments of your route. Since there are plenty of short interconnected trails here, it lends itself well to improvization.
Notice that there are at least two spots where you can park along Arastradero Road to enter this park. The one I'm showing as the suggested parking here is a roadside parking area with space for only five or six vehicles. The reason I usually prefer this one is that I usually do weekday morning rides at Arastradero before going to work, and the main parking lot sometimes happens to still have its gate locked at the early morning hour at which I show up. So, if you like, you can first try the main parking lot and only use my suggestion if the main lot happens to be locked.
There isn't a single characteristic route in the park that I can think of. The route represented on this page is, therefore, simply one of many possible suggestions. I can point to a few highlights that are worth checking out, though: "The Bowl" in the westernmost extreme of the park is a huge flat-bottomed excavation in the ground (an old quarry?) that provides opportunities for blasting down one end of it and trying to make it out the other steep end. A nearby "playground" may also enable you to spend a few fun minutes. There are some ramps and "jumps" there, though it's been aging lately. You can string these two together by following Bowl Loop Trail. And, finally, Acorn Trail, Woodland Star Trail, and Woodrat Trail are all nice singletrack trails that are (naturally) more fun in the descending direction, but are almost as enjoyable to climb.
One important thing to watch out for when it comes to biking at Arastradero is that the trail conditions become terrible when it rains. The soil here seems to have high clay content and, even after modest amounts of rainfall, it quickly sticks to your tires and accumulates until progress becomes almost impossible. You've been warned.
© Ergin Guney
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